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BRING ME THE HORIZON // Domination on the Frontier

BRING ME THE HORIZON + Hands Like Houses – Margaret Court Arena, 5 February 2017

We may be minus a hefty support artist from their cancelled shows in September (Architects we still love you), but Bring Me The Horizon have still managed to keep their original sold out show packed to the rafters.

Hands Like Houses score the much-coveted support slot and manage to win the crowd over almost immediately. Opening with New Romantics and Colourblind, the band throw out two of their biggest tracks to start off the evening. Hands clap and people actually jump when singer Trenton Woodley requests them to. The vocalist has an impressive range that’s used to full effect during Stillwater, and the backup harmonies from the band’s guitarists are a nice touch. Their performance is a tad stiff but they’ve added these dates onto their already sold out tour, which deserves applause in its own right. As Woodley says: when you have the opportunity to open for Bring Me The Horizon, that’s not an offer to refuse.  

If Hands Like Houses represent the more palatable side of the Bring Me juggernaut, While She Sleeps ensure that no one forgets the headlining band’s roots. Thrashing onto the stage, vocalist Lawrence Taylor leaps from the drummer’s palpitation-inducing kick drum with a high flying karate kick. The band’s bass is seriously enough to alter heart rhythms, and the lads already have their shirts off in the pit down below. Civil Isolation thrusts a weird effect on the band’s backup vocalists that doesn’t quite work, sounding more like unintentional distortion than likely intended.

Taking cues from Every Time I Die, While She Sleeps throw the entirety of themselves into the setlist. Taylor collapses on the ground – he had a big night at Oli Sykes’ DJ set we’re told – but still manages to scream monstrously. We’re privy to the second ever performance of new single Hurricane live, and it’s a much more diverse track than the fast-paced numbers before it. Four Walls closes us out and it’s a shame the band aren’t bigger here, as footage from the UK shows that the crowd often echo louder than the PA. Still, for a likely attempted push into Australia, While She Sleeps make a hell of an impression.

With an orchestral introduction backlit by fireflies on the giant LED screen, Bring Me The Horizon finally arrive to make it up to Melbourne. Opening with Happy Song, it looks like it won’t take much. Thrusting lyrics onto the screen with choir chants in the background, the crowd lose their everloving minds. Just Oli Sykes appearing on stage is enough for some, who bounce from seats at the sight of his mop emerging from stage right. The shotgun blast of confetti helps too. Go To Hell For Heaven’s Sake sees an umbrella emerge from the moshpit as a tribute to the now iconic album artwork. It’s snapped once it reaches the security guards but then another appears. Surely these aren’t coming cheap, and what an effort to bring in the first place? Whatever, we’re onto Avalanche and the full effect of the LED screen and lighting takes hold. Bathing the arena in a shade of icy blue, it’s a testament to the production team that they can take attention away from the band without seeming distracting.

Give them a few years, and we’re likely to see Bring Me The Horizon next door. Double the capacity? From tonight, it doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch.

The “OG” crowd according to Sykes predictably open the pit wide for Chelsea Smile. Ending with a hint of a death growl,  that’s the only taste we’ll get from the earlier days of the vicious hatred that attracted so many in the Myspace days. Those still waiting with bated breath for Pray For Plagues will have to make do in the coming years. They’ll likely change their tune though, as Follow You shows exactly how Bring Me The Horizon ended up as one of the biggest bands in the world. We can’t praise keyboardist/percussionist/backup vocalist Jordan Fish enough for his contribution to the band’s ability to write bangers. Picking up the slack at any given moment, he should be given a place at the front of the stage. Surprisingly though, Sykes’ vocals have improved immensely since his ill-fated jaunt here last year. The cries of ‘Bring Me The Backing Track’ may have some merit, but his voice is embellished by them rather than leaning heavily like other performances.

A lush instrumental with a green backdrop illuminates the stage and serves as a perfect introduction to Sleepwalking. The band disappear—surely not the end of the setlist?—but they return for another four tracks. Doomed further solidifies that Sykes can stand on his own, and drummer Matt Nichols shines over a sea of middle fingers during Antivist. The encore brings True Friends which falters slightly in its introduction, but Oh No is a pleasant surprise. An 80’s neon pink/blue glow sits as guitarist Lee Malia noodles the song’s original saxophone solo on his guitar. Set closer Drown needs no introduction; as soon as the stage light logo of ‘BMTH’ appears, seats are quickly snapped up as patrons jump to their feet. Sykes requests high fives from the crowd, with one punter even managing to leap on stage for a hug. Another attempts to follow and is quickly grabbed by security, his body rigid to keep his phone locked on the stage as he screams the lyrics. Utter madness. Give them a few years, and we’re likely to see Bring Me The Horizon next door. Double the capacity? From tonight, it doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch.  


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